France’s ‘jihad town’

Five men from a French town that supplied around 20 jihadists to the war in Syria went on trial Thursday.

Published: 07th April 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2018 01:15 AM   |  A+A-

Five men from a French town that supplied around 20 jihadists to the war in Syria went on trial Thursday. Lunel, a town of 26,000 near the Mediterranean coast, became a symbol of the jihadist fervour sweeping parts of France when a group slipped out of the country to Syria in 2013

High unemployment and a radical mosque Opening the proceedings in Paris on Thursday, the presiding judge said the court “cannot necessarily claim to understand what happened”. “The idea is to understand if there was fertile ground for the jihadist outflow,” she added

The town is a rural area where unemployment runs high, according to AFP. After the town learnt that six of its residents had been killed fighting for the Islamic State in 2014, Lunel’s right-wing mayor talked to the president of a local mosque—which all the men who travelled to Syria attended at one point of time or another, according to a report in The New York Times

Not my job to judge the IS jihadists’ The mosque’s head, instead of condemning the surge of IS recruits, blamed the government. “This is their choice. It is not for me to judge them,” he told a local newspaper. He added that no one criticised French citizens who went to Israel to help their army “kill Palestinian babies

The family of Mr Amar (a jihadist who went to Syria) believes the mosque leadership did not urge worshippers toward jihad but that it did allow activists affiliated with Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic revivalist group that originated in India, to spread its ideas, which German and other European intelligence services have characterised as sometimes leading to extremism. A 2010 study by France’s Institute for Islamic Studies and the Muslim World said the mosque was “close to Tabligh”, but raised no concerns about any tilt toward violence Senior journalist Andrew Higgins in The New York Times


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